Posts tagged with "church":
Today the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approved a major revamp of Trinity Church, the storied Manhattan house of worship where Alexander Hamilton is buried.The parish tapped Murphy Burnham & Buttrick (MBB) to lead the renovations. In addition to interior repairs, the New York firm plans to add wheelchair-accessible ramps around the perimeter of the building and install a low canopy on the church's south side to shelter its weekly processions from the elements. Unlike many New York–area churches that struggle with declining attendance, Trinity is thriving. The Episcopal congregation attracts around 400 people on a typical Sunday, said Trinity Church Vicar Philip Jackson. The goal of the renovation is to enhance the experience of worship, address deferred maintenance, and make the church and property accessible via an ADA-compliant path around the perimeter. Parishioners, many who live in Battery Park City, Tribeca, and the Financial District, the church's home neighborhood, participate in a formal Episcopal service. Jackson explained that a hallmark of Sundays at Trinity Sunday is the long procession that winds from the outside into the main hall. To protect the priests and worshipers walking outside from inclement weather, the church asked MBB to construct a glass-and-painted-steel canopy along the lower portion of the windows on the original building's south terrace and along the Manning Wing, a 1966 addition. The area will also be re-paved in bluestone (PDF). “We designed an awning as minimal and deferential to existing architecture as possible,” said MBB Founding Partner Jeffrey Murphy.
The parish is almost as old as New York itself. Trinity was founded over 300 years ago, and the church moved into its current quarters in 1846. The original structure, at 75 Broadway, was designed by Richard Upjohn in the Gothic Revival style and landmarked in 1966. Three subsequent additions, the latest from the same year as the landmarking, honored the original design, but the interior hasn't undergone a major renovation since the mid-1940s.Inside, MBB will replace deteriorating stained glass, and restore doors and masonry that are aging poorly. The firm, which is known for its sensitive renovations of historic structures, completed a top-to-bottom restoration of James Renwick's St. Patrick's Cathedral in 2015. Although Trinity Church is first and foremost a house of worship, it is also a major tourist destination. Visitors have always stopped by to pay respects to permanent resident Alexander Hamilton, but the founding father's gravesite has become even more popular since Lin Manuel Miranda's Broadway musical Hamilton debuted. To legitimize the cemetery's well-worn desire paths and accommodate an influx of visitors, the team is improving the graveyard's walkways in accordance with an LPC-approved landscape master plan. The architects are also working with an archeologist before breaking ground to scope the graves in the yard and the markers around the church, and any stones that need to be moved will be re-instated before the site project re-opens to the public. On the west side, MBB will expand the terrace's loggia by one bay so people can be shielded from the elements, and it will add a paved plaza, pictured above at right. The team will also remove fencing around the site, and retool the lighting scheme to highlight the church's signature brownstone buttresses. "In general it’s a really thoughtful, well-done proposal. All the details are really well-thought through and totally appropriate," said LPC Commissioner Michael Goldblum. Preservation advocacy group Historic Districts Council (HDC) mostly agreed, but thought MBB and Trinity could refine the design of the canopy and western terrace. "It is not clear from the submitted drawings why there is a programmatic need for an awning that will run the length of the entire facade of the sanctuary," said HDC's Patrick Waldo. "The canopy competes with and obscures [the buttresses] and the design appears as a modernist expression which HDC feels does not fit beside an ecclesiastical structure." The second speaker, Christabel Gough, of the preservation group Society for the Architecture of the City, agreed, and added that the paved western plaza was "fitted out exactly like a corporate plaza made to obtain a zoning bonus." After a short discussion, the LPC approved MBB and Trinity's proposal with modifications. The team will have to work with staff to rethink the design of the canopy, paving, and landscape.
One hundred and fourteen years to the month after the cornerstone of Saint Boniface Church was laid, the building was saved from the wrecking ball. After lying vacant since 1990, the City of Chicago set a deadline of September 23 for the building to be sold, or it would be ordered demolished. That same day, local developer STAS Development closed on the property with plans to convert the iconic North Side church into residences and a music school.
The Saint Boniface parish has been a staple of the Near North Side in Chicago since 1860. First German and then Polish, the story of the parish and the church it called home is one that is common in Chicago. As one of the first schools in the area, the church was the center of an immigrant community. The four-towered Romanesque design by architect Henry J. Schlacks sits 900 and has a 52-foot-high ceiling.
Now, a collaboration between STAS Development and the Hyde Park–based Chicago Academy of Music will transform the original structure: The 32,000-square-foot church will be converted into 15 residential units, with a music school and 24 more units planned for new construction on the site. While this will completely change the nature of the historic structure, it is still considered a big win by preservationists.
As development continues at breakneck speed on the Near North Side, churches have become popular structures for conversion into housing throughout its neighborhoods. Saint Boniface’s neighborhood of Nobel Square, as well as nearby Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village, Bucktown, and Logan Square, were once filled with German Catholics and Eastern European Catholics building churches literally every few blocks. Only a very small number of these churches remain as active worship spaces. Those lucky enough to be spared the wrecking ball attract developers with their high ceilings, stained-glass windows, and distinctive character. As they are often larger than the typical stacked-flat housing stock in the neighborhoods, they can be used for denser development.
Saint Boniface is an outlier among these converted churches, though. Unlike so many of the others, it is not deeply embedded in the tight streets of its surrounding neighborhood. Instead, it stands out on a major street with its four large bell towers, one of which is 150 feet tall. The church is an icon in its neighborhood, and more recently an icon for the whole city. After the Chicago Cubs’ recent World Series win, Saint Boniface was used as the backdrop for a Nike commercial in which a young Cubs fan plays out his own World Series win in the adjacent park.
Although neighborhoods in Chicago quickly change in demographics and density, Saint Boniface will not be the last of the old churches to be “saved” by development, though it is likely to be one of the largest. While complete plans have not yet been released, one can’t help but wonder if someone will have a condo with an ornately vaulted ceiling or a rose window.
As for St. Sava, the church is going through motions of fundraising to ensure its preservation.
Just yesterday, AN spoke to a number of attendees at a fundraising event. Gordon Bijelonic, a Los Angeles-based film producer who grew up in the community, mentioned how the church played a role for refugees arriving in the U.S. "This Church created safe passage for my parents to the U.S.A. from an Austrian refugee camp during the communist era of former Yugoslavia.” He added how it was imperative that the building maintains its landmark status. "This is not so much about religion either, it has become a cultural icon. The church is a pillar of culture for Serbians who come to the U.S.," he said. "We want to rebuild, not move. It's so important that it remains where it is."Newly appointed to the parish, Very Reverend Dr. Živojin Jakovljević spoke of how much the church welcomed the support they received after the fire. "At the time when our Parish and we, the people of Saint Sava, grieve the loss of a beautiful church, we also feel comforted, because we know we are not alone. We would like to thank all those, who, by their support and solidarity, have given us comfort and hope. Such attitude will not only help us rebuild the church, but also uplift the spirit of many lovely faithful people of our Saint Sava community."
Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture may be best known for its supertalls, but even though one of the office’s current constructions, Willow Creek North Shore Church, is quite the opposite, it will still have its congregation looking up.
The 72,000-square-foot project in Glenview, Illinois, just north of Chicago, is one of eight Willow Creek ministries located throughout the greater Chicago area. Currently under construction, completion is scheduled for fall 2016.
“Although we are specialists in the design and technology of super tall towers and complex sustainable master planning, we enjoy designing at all scales and typologies,” Adrian Smith, design partner and founder of AS+GG, told The Architect's Newspaper. “Many of our buildings have smaller components to them, and most of our work is mixed-use, so designing a church, a school, a performing arts venue or a congress hall is all part of what we do.”
The mustard seed, a recurring reference in the Bible, inspired the overall shape. It symbolizes strong faith and fellowship of the congregation. It was also used as a guiding principle in connecting the project to its surroundings. “The goal of the space was to have nature as the backdrop for every room,” Willow Creek North Shore Lead Pastor Steve Gillen said in a press release.
Though the project is well above the ground now, and the final form of the building is becoming clear, the first months of construction were focused on site work. The entire building site was lifted five to eight feet, providing a gentle plateau to support the building. A large retention pond was also created and mimics the shape of the church. A 700-car parking lot was built to accommodate the large congregation.
When completed, the church will include a 1,200-seat auditorium, adult ministry spaces, classrooms, a cafe, and administration offices. Two large oval-shaped courtyards flank the central sanctuary. These plazas flow seamlessly into the interior spaces to provide additional areas for funerals, weddings, and informal events with direct access to the cafe. There are several gathering spaces, including a large sky-lit preassembly area, designed into the project. “The gentle curve of the circulation paths allows occupants to flow through the space, while enjoying views of the outside,” Smith explained.
Many areas of the project are designed specifically to allow for flexible programming. The administrative offices will function as workplaces throughout the week, while providing extra ministry spaces and classrooms on the weekend. The cafe can be used as a more casual meeting and gathering space on weekends as well.
More than simply a place of worship, the Willow Creek North Shore is a project built around a community, for a community. Its generous spaces and ability to transform fill a need for the ever-growing congregation and church administration. And though it does not reach the tall heights of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill’s other buildings, the firm’s signature form and style are undeniable.